BEWARE: Torch Corals Sting!

BEWARE – Did you know Torch Corals sting your other corals?  Unfortunately I have witnessed this first hand with my Torch Coral and prized Red Goni (otherwise known as a Goniopora). In this article I will tell a story about Torch Coral Placement and what you should and should not do.

Background to the Lesson

To give a bit of background on the situation, if you are a regular reader you will know that I believe I am an ethical and responsible aquarist and I always do thorough research before making a purchase. So when I was doing my research on Torch Corals, I read that their mesmerizing swaying tentacles can sting other nearby corals and should be given a wide berth when choosing a place for the coral. I decided I wanted to go ahead with the purchase because I love the way they add movement to the tank.

To give you an idea of what these stinging corals can do here is a picture of my Goni after an attack from the Torch Corals sting you can see at the top of the picture.

remanents of my Goni after a Torch Coral attack

You can see the bits of coral on the top of my Goni which appears burnt and dead. Normally my Red Goni would be extended out with all it’s polyps reach out for light. (And yes, I know I am going through a bit of a red algae bloom at the moment!)

To find out how this horrific event occurred and how you can avoid this from happening to your corals keep on reading.

What are Torch Corals?

I don’t want to go into too much detail about Torch Corals in this article because this is more just a WARNING and LESSONS that I want to put out there so you can avoid your corals looking like mine (above). I will do a complete write up and guide about Torch Corals in a later series.

However to completely understand how this incident came about we need to know a few fundamental things about Torch Corals.

Torch corals belong to the LPS (Large Polyp Stony) coral family.  They are known as a soft coral with a branching skeletal base from which the soft tentacles extend and catch food passing in the water column.

They are a a part of the branching stony coral species meaning you can break off a branch and propagate an entire new colony. Great for trading with other aquarists!

How Do Torch Corals Sting?

Torch Corals have long extending tentacles known as sweeper tentacles that (as I know all too well now) will sting other corals that are too close. It is due to the nematocysts on the end of the tentacles that cause the Torch Coral sting.

Torch Coral Placement – How My Tragedy Unfold

torch corals sting
the burning of the Goniopora

So fortunately for me, the incident that is now known as “The burning of the Goni” (I know a little bit dramatic) was not caused by any ignorance or lack of knowledge. In fact I have been very pedantic about the placement of my Torch Corals.  Always ensuring they had plenty of distance between them and other of my prized corals.  However I failed to account for one thing…

The culprit was an innocent looking snail! Yes, who knew those slow moving algae eaters could be so malicious!

Slowly, but surely, it nudged my Torch Coral over the edge, pushing it onto the unsuspecting Goni. From there, it was game over and the Torch Coral let loose it’s sweeper tentacles, stinging the top of the Goni until it had burnt flesh and scolded polyps.

Unfortunately, I was oblivious to this vicious attack for over an hour. Once I realized I quickly rescued the Goni before it was completely torched (pun intended)!

I’m not sure if the Goni will pull through on this one (fingers crossed), but it is showing signs of life from it’s other polyps.

Key Takeaways from the Torch Corals Sting

So after this tragedy here are the lessons and key takeaways I have learnt:

  • always glue down your corals to avoid them falling, and in my case falling onto other prone corals
  • snails – what are they good for! just kidding – snails will be snails. They will get in the way of everything, so refer to lesson above so they don’t cause you any issues
  • don’t place stinging corals high above other corals.  In the case where they do fall, at least it will be on nothing vulnerable.

If you liked this article BEWARE! TORCH CORALS STING or taken the lessons to be learnt to heart, please share this with other fellow hobbyists by hitting the share button.

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